Monday, November 1, 2010

Honoring the Dead

First of all a happy All Saints Day. Did you know that tomorrow is All Souls Day?  These are very solemn days in some sects of the Roman Catholic Church. Honoring dead saints and relatives requires a degree of seriousness as well as tradition.

Last night is more my type of holiday. Halloween. This holiday is celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, Canada and the United States primarily. It is thought to be based on the Celtic festival of Samhain - a Gaelic harvest festival - though some have traced it back to Roman times namely the Roman feast of Pomona who was the goddess of fruit and seeds. Or the roots may be traced to Parentalia a Roman festival of the dead.

The ancient Celts believed that on Samhain the line between the land of the living and that of the dead became thin thus allowing spirits to cross into the land of the living. That wouldn't be so bad if all the spirits were good but the evil ones cross over as well.

Those good spirits, like those of deceased relatives, were honored and invited in to the homes but costumes and masks had to be worn to scare away the evil entitities. The purpose was that the costumes and masks would make the wearer seem like an evil spirit and thus avoid harm.

In Scotland young men impersonated the spirits by dressing all in white with veiled, blackened or masked faces.

The word Halloween and many of the traditions we see today were derived from the Old English era. The first use of the word Halloween has been traced back to the 16th century and represents a variant of the Scottish  All-Hallows-Even.

The photos I am using are from those stored on my computer. I don't have information on the buildings so I am just putting them on here for you to see.

Bet this house was scary last night. The stories and such you could make up about it. If someone thought to decorate it and have sounds emanating from the grounds that would certainly add to the frightening atmosphere of Halloween.

Off the topic of spooky things, don't you find the windows of this building interesting?

This fountain is in Yaletown at a park.

I liked the burst of color here.

This building I am showing you is on Cordova Street. I don't know anything about it but it must be old. Look at these doors.

I am just under five foot two inches and I would have to duck to get in. That indicates that this is an old building.

Look at the stairs! And the front. This appears to be a building with a courtyard or something similiar in the center. I can't enter it, there is a gate that is very secure.

This is another building I haven't been able to find out much information on. But considering the style of it, the location - near Gastown and Strathcona - and the feel I get from it I would say it has been there a while.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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